Thursday, January 30, 2014

Living Prayer

When I realized that all is prayer,
it changed everything,
or at least it changes everything

on those occasions –
more rare than I would like to admit –
when the prayerfulness
of each present moment does not elude me.

Those careless or caring words
with people who are committed,
by genetics or betrothal,
to spend a lifetime with us?

That erupting criticism or praise
of people whose livelihoods 
are purposefully tied to us,
by shared employment or economic interaction?

Those words never spoken,
because they’re never thought,
about the invisible ones
we walk and live right past each day?

That post you shared,
whether or not you envisioned
those with whom it would resonate
or those whose rage it might ignite?

That wishing, both backward and forward,
past regrets and future hopes,
sometimes wholly selfishness
and others, holy selflessness?

Never imagine, then,
that you didn't have/make time for it,
that you didn't do enough of it.
Just try to pay attention to how
you’re constantly doing it.

Photo by Todd Jenkins

© 2013 Todd Jenkins

Monday, January 27, 2014

White Bread Jesus

Too much of the work 
of the institutional church
feels like feeding white
bread to domestic ducks.

Never mind that its nutritional value
has been thoroughly denatured
by a bleaching process which
not even God can withstand,

fully oppositional to transfiguration’s
amazing glow; or that it doesn't even
stay in our spiritual digestive system
long enough to last us ‘til the next meal.

Give us a Jesus that is
palatable and domesticated;
a Savior who goes well with
the rest of our pasteurized lives;
a smoothie, processed
for safe and easy digestion.

God forbid that we should
have to chew and think,
to struggle and be challenged,
to wonder what it means
to be invited to a table

whose menu is "my body,
broken for you" and
"my blood poured out for
the forgiveness of your sins".
No, we’ll have White Bread Jesus;
and make that “to go” please.

Photo by Keith Powell

© 2014 Todd Jenkins

Friday, January 24, 2014


Teach us, O Creator of the universe,
to un-hoard our lives
by letting go of the things
we think we need,

so that we can make room
in our homes and hands
to gently cup the beating heart
and fluttering wings of your promise.

Gift us with a peace that nestles us
secured but un-smothered
in a willingness to risk
our whole selves to your providence.

© 2014 Todd Jenkins

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Call to Worship

[one] We’re probably here because the people who were here before us either gave birth to us, married us, worked with us, befriended us, or invited us.

[many] We’re also here because God put a longing deep inside us that has not yet been satisfied.

[one] We've tried to satisfy this longing – this hunger – with many other things:

[many] material possessions, food, superficial relationships, busy schedules, and more.

[one] Could this be a day when we find more of the answers for how to fill the emptiness and dissatisfaction?

[many] That’s what we’re hoping. That’s why we came.

[all] Let us open wide, dig deep, and dare to let God loose!
Photo by Todd Jenkins
© 2014 Todd Jenkins

Monday, January 20, 2014


It really has no thumbnail view;
won’t be found where “me and mine”
live in homogenously gated communities;
bolts unannounced with claustrophobia
when its definition is squeezed
into the privatized closet of self.

Violence and control are temporary.
The forces of the universe can only
be held at bay for so long before
cracks in the dam of possessiveness
begin to leak the world back into balance.

Freedom resides outside the walls,
beyond the cliffs, near the beach,
where the sea of humanity steadily
and gently laps against earth’s shore.

That’s where the hungry are fed,
the naked clothed, the sick healed,
and the dead laid to rest in peace.

It knows no borders, fears no differences,
sleeps with neither medicine nor anxiety;

is possessed by God and possesses not.

Photo by Todd Jenkins

© 2013 Todd Jenkins

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Music's Gift

Time is the measure
that helps us decide
if the words of our hymns
will forever abide

in our minds, our lives
and deep in our hearts
as the firm foundation
for how our faith starts

to move us beyond
ourselves and our kin;
throw open the doors,
let the whole world in.

As for the new music
we hear, play, and sing,
we’ll ask the same questions;
let our lives be the thing

that teach us for sure
one way or another
if the music we breathe
opens grace to the other.

It’s not instruments,
or style or form,
but the hope music offers
others’ spirits to warm.

Photo by Todd Jenkins

© 2012 Todd Jenkins

Monday, January 13, 2014


Photo by Lee Lindsey McKinney

Introverts are not nearly
as afraid to speak and hear
as you might imagine.

We do, however,
value words to the point
that more of them will not be added

to a time and place before
the echo of those previously spoken
has faded and their wisdom been absorbed.

So, if you're interested
in knowing our story,
you might elicit its unfolding

by honoring your own tales
with a little more space
than might seem necessary.

Who knows what deeps
we'll find ourselves
treasured into?

© 2013 Todd Jenkins

Friday, January 10, 2014


Photo by Todd Jenkins

Don't let the thoughts
that immediately erupt
with chaos and surprise's arrival
poison the well of your future.

Leave room for the unexpected
words and actions of others to be
totally not about you at all.

Make space for the pieces
of your life's puzzle to be
drawn closer to others'
and not repelled by the
angst of your initial fear.

Moving from expectation to desire
is the difference between
blaming others for your unhappiness
and taking responsibility
for identifying your own joy.

© 2014 Todd Jenkins

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Reassembly Required

Have you ever tried to construct
a complicated gift – a child’s toy
that comes in a box,
broken down into dozens
of different pieces;

a piece of furniture
that comes the same way;
or some other device
or gadget that arrives
labeled “assembly required”?

Sometimes the directions
aren’t quite clear, and seem
as if they have been translated
from another language,

either by a woefully inadequate
online tool or someone
whose bilinguality has been validated
by little more than the purchase
of Rosetta Stone discs.

Other times, there seem to be
pieces broken in transit,
or altogether missing,

making it nearly impossible
to construct anything
that resembles the original
product’s description and function.

Have you ever stopped to consider
how your life could be
described in this same way?

The harder we try to glue,
bolt, and otherwise connect
the fragmented pieces of our lives,

forcing them to function like
and resemble a picture
we were shown in the past
or someone else imagined for our future,
the more frustrated, hopeless,
and dysfunctional we become.

What would happen if we freed
ourselves and our expectations
from instructions and components
demanding perfect function and understanding,

focusing instead, on reconstructing
our broken pieces into vessels capable
of holding those around us
in the present moment
beneath grace’s flow?

Photo by Todd Jenkins

© 2014 Todd Jenkins

Sunday, January 5, 2014


Photo by Lee Lindsey McKinney

Living “not from around here”
is less about the origin
of one’s birth certificate,
and more about the size
of one’s heart and
the steadfastness of one’s search.

Revelation is always feared
by those who wield power,
be it cultural, political, familial,
economic, or ecclesial.

They know, all too well,
how an an "e" and an "a"
can quickly be traded in
for an "o" and a "u"
when the emperor's ensemble
is seen in the light of day.

© 2014 Todd Jenkins